Cabbage the Twitter-famous lost-and-found dog dies at 15

A dog that went viral when she was stolen and then found within hours thanks to a Twitter campaign has died aged 15.Cabbage, the collie cross of the former BBC journalist Rory Cellan-Jones, trended on Twitter last November when she and five other dogs were stolen together with a van in Acton, west London , after a dog walker left his keys in the ignition.Cellan-Jones, 63, who thanked his 197,000 Twitter followers when all six dogs were found safely the same day, tweeted on Saturday morning: “We have some very sad news. We’ve had to say goodbye to our much loved collie cross Cabbage.

“For 14 years she was a lovely, energetic and really smart member of our family. It was time for her to go but we miss her so much.”

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Thanking his followers for their support, Cellan-Jones added: “For me and Cabbage, an early walk was an essential part of our daily routine, good for our mental and physical health. This morning I went out as normal but the park seemed very empty. Thanks so much for all your kind messages.”

Cabbage already had an online following before she was stolen because Cellan-Jones regularly documented their morning walks on his feed.

On Friday morning he shared a picture of a final walk with Cabbage, writing: “Home after a gentle stroll.”

The BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker and the Sky News broadcaster Ed Conway were among more than 1,000 wellwishers to offer their condolences.

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The BBC presenter Nuala McGovern wrote: “I’m so sorry Rory, loved Cabbage in my timeline basically telling me to get up and get moving outside.”

When Cabbage went missing last winter, Cellan-Jones quickly alerted his followers and asked people to report any sightings, an appeal that was liked and shared thousands of times in what the journalist described as an “extraordinary outpouring of concern”.

“Something terrible has happened,” he wrote at the time. “Our dog walker’s van with our dog Cabbage in it has been stolen while he was picking up another pet … Please look out for a black Ford Transit.”

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Ford’s press office subsequently got in touch to make the dog walker aware of a safety feature that allowed him to track his van through an app. The van was located in Park Royal and four of the dogs were soon found nearby. The other two were located the same evening.More than 60,000 Twitter users liked a picture celebrating Cabbage’s safe return, with Cellan-Jones saying after his dog was recovered: “Social media has lots of negative sides, but you can use it for really good purposes.”